"The interesting thing is that it effectively marks the provision of knowledge as a free good, which accords with young people's expectations."
MIKE BOXALL, PA HIGHER EDUCATION expert
PA’s Mike Boxall, higher education expert, is quoted in an article in the Guardian on the launch of Coursera in the UK. Coursera will provide free online access to classes designed by academics at elite institutions.
Mike compares this development to the changes that have swept the media and music industry. "The interesting thing is that it effectively marks the provision of knowledge as a free good, which accords with young people's expectations. Now you've got the industry saying, we have to protect our offer – that offer is not the key to the library door – they have to provide something around that, the ability to use and interact with that knowledge."
The growth in online learning is likely to push universities towards greater emphasis on one-to-one tuition and other interaction with students, Mike says. "What does that mean for 500-seat lecture theatres? It's amazing that universities are still building big lecture theatres – there's a huge wave of building across the university world. They're not rethinking that environment."
Mike goes on to point out that: "There is huge latent demand. Public higher education is under pressure but the bigger market for learning is just vast."
You can read the article in full here.